BEIJING, China, November 11. STILL burning from the International Olympic Committee decision to hold swimming finals in the morning, along with a hefty portion of the gymnastics finals, the European Broadcasting Union is contemplating legal action against the IOC. According to a Reuters report, the EBU is having its legal team determine whether the IOC is in breach of contract.
"We hope to avoid a court case as we have always been loyal partners of the IOC in the past, but our members are furious about what has happened," Fritz Pleitgen, the EBU President, told Reuters.
Late last month, the IOC announced that swimming finals will take place in the morning, allowing NBC the opportunity to broadcast the races live in primetime to its American audience. The decision has been widely criticized as the IOC bowing to dollars rather than adhering to the Olympic spirit. Consequently, European and Asian broadcasters will air the events at times with fewer viewers.
"We have had no explanation from the IOC as to the reasons for this change, and whether it is being done just to suit U.S. audiences, but we are worried that it marks a new rule where the schedule is arranged according to who pays the most money," said Pleitgen.
NBC paid $3.55 billion for coverage of Olympic action from 2000-08 and will pay $2.2 billion for the 2010 and 2012 Games. The EBU, meanwhile, has agreed to shell out $1.02 billion for the 2010 and 2012 Games.